Dispute resolution

Trilegal is a prominent full-service firm with a sizeable team of seasoned dispute resolution experts. The firm excels in all traditional corporate areas but has particular disputes strengths in competition, complex commercial litigation, international arbitration, insolvency, tax, and white-collar crime. The group has grown in the past year with the onboarding of a sizeable cohort of partners and counsels from leading rivals. This year the firm moves up into the top tier in the white-collar crime rankings.

The team has a track record covering a broad spectrum of litigations across all forums, including the Supreme Court, various high courts, lower courts, tribunals, and other regulatory and quasi-judicial commissions. A substantial portion of the firm’s case load has a major international component – for instance, sensitive M&A-related disputes and complex commercial transactions. The firm consistently features in extremely complex high-stakes disputes and multi-jurisdictional mandates.

Trilegal has deep and long-standing relationships with a vast network of top-tier foreign law firms. With its place locked in among the best global disputes firms, the international arbitration team is a go-to choice for various international and domestic clients, including the 3i Group, DE Shaw, Alibaba, EIG, Abu Dhabi National Energy Co, Cairn Energy, Tata Communications and Axiom Telecom.

Dispute resolution head and partner Shankh Sengupta leads a team of disputes-focused partners that includes Jafar Alam, Ashish Bhan, Tine Abraham, Pallav Shukla, Siddharth Ranade, Anuj Berry, and Nitesh Jain. Other key figures are partners with practice specialities that overlap with the disputes group, such as competition specialist Nisha Kaur Uberoi, white-collar crimes investigation specialist Kunal Gupta and tax specialists Himanshu Sinha and Samsuddha Majumder.

The firm is acting for CDC India Opportunities before the NCLT in an oppression and mismanagement dispute. The action was initiated by a group of minority shareholders in one of the client’s investment companies, Blue Sapphire Healthcare. The case is interesting because it concerns an undesirable scenario often faced by investor shareholders in Indian companies, where the shareholder rights and investment are likely to be jeopardised on account of infighting among the promoter shareholders.

Trilegal stepped in to assist NCR Corporation India in seeking interim protection orders for its officials after an FIR was filed against company employees after an electrocution incident occurred at an ATM. The firm successfully obtained the protections for its client’s managing director and other senior and mid-level employees during the pendency of the police investigation. An outsourced employee to the company was electrocuted to death as a wire at the site had not been secured properly and an FIR was registered against three generic positions of the company, two of which did not actually exist. The interesting legal point involved was the question of who the police could have acted against if no such positions existed within the company.

The competition team is defending Vodafone Idea in relation to litigations arising out of alleged violation of exclusive media rights awarded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to Star India Private (Star India). The latter initiated the suit as it believed it had won exclusive rights to broadcast cricket matches from BCCI. The outcome of the litigation is expected to determine if private parties by way of a contract can claim exclusive rights over the information emanating from publicly broadcasted events. The case also represents a first-of-its-kind case in Indian law for applying the American “hot-news” doctrine and tortious liability. The case also raises questions as to whether rights that are not recognised under the Indian Copyright Act stand “pre-empted” where no common law remedies can be sustained.

In an international arbitration matter, the team successfully represented EIG Mauritius in the enforcement of a foreign award before the Calcutta High Court and Supreme Court and advised on Indian law-related aspects in a challenge to the foreign award before the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) that was dismissed by SICC. This dispute will have a significant impact on the scope of enquiry of an enforcing court over a foreign award. It will also affect the legality of put option clauses, given the lack of clarity on aspects relating to the enforcement of foreign awards upholding put options and public policy objections grounded in arguments of illegality under the Securities Contract Regulation Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act that are often resorted to by the respondent shareholders. This dispute will also throw light on various aspects that foreign investors should consider while negotiating exits from their investments in Indian companies.

The disputes group has expanded through the hiring of four partners from some of its closest competitors: Anuj Berry joined from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (SAM), Vishrov Mukerjee came from J Sagar Associates (JSA), Shalaka Patil was hired from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, and Rajat Jariwal joined from Khaitan & Co. Additionally, six more counsels were hired from JSA, SAM and Dua Associates. Partner and international arbitration specialist Anuradha Agnihotri left for Herbert Smith Freehills in London, where she is now a counsel.

Trilegal is known for its loyal international client base, though it also has many heavyweight domestic clients. Some recent clients are ArcelorMittal, Mitsui & Co, Nippon Steel India, Wipro Enterprises and Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

Client feedback

“They are good at strategy and detail.” – International arbitration

“We appreciate their litigation skills, good co-ordination of enforcement agencies and negotiation abilities.” – White-collar crime

“The advice provided by the Trilegal is very pragmatic, and they have end-to-end solutions in every situation. The team handles the assignment in a very proactive manner and with utmost degree of care and detailing.” – White-collar crime

Kunal Gupta

“He is very talented and knowledgeable and always up to date with the laws. In terms of giving legal advice, he is one of the best.”

Nitesh Jain

“He excels at strategy and team empowerment, and has correct oversight.”

“Nitesh is approachable and has great industry knowledge and sector knowledge. He gives pragmatic advice.”